Today was my first bad week of adulthood. That is what we’re calling 21 years old, right? Adulthood?

To provide the slightest sample, it was relatively early in the work day today that I didn’t mark down a staff member at a school her complimentary photo package, as is customary. It’s a relatively minor error, for which there is a form provided. Asking for what we call a variance report, I hear, coming from the mouth of a coworker who has no seniority over myself:

You’ve already messed up?

Well, yes. I admitted to it out loud before anyone present called me on it. Your condescending tone of voice is not appreciated, you fictional expletive.

I chose not to say that, instead smiling and laughing along with her. Even as I joined in with her cacophony, I recognized her laugh as the thinly veiled horse laugh of belittling — three short, barking guffaws. Our supervisor was present. Out of fairness, I hesitate to characterize her motivations.

I’m sure, though, that she really doesn’t like me, and my Bokononism-motivated turn of the cheek doesn’t save me from very much disliking her, and I’m one of those guys who tends to be pretty chipper. It isn’t that hard.

All it takes is to accept the unquestionably outrageous lie that feelings are always a choice, and that one is always in complete control of one’s actions. I figured that if I could swallow that whopper, I could believe just about anything — particularly the tautologies involving honesty and best policy, how one is always personally accountable for one’s actions and that thing about turning the other cheek.

Accepting all of the above, or at least at the appearance of them, keeps me a merry sort of fellow. Outside work, it bleeds over — I don’t want to help set up the band room, but I help out, anyway. Inside work, I feel like I bleed internally — I don’t want to put up with that condescending jerk from the office, but I do, anyway.

More specifically, as far as the office knows, I don’t mind waking up at o’-dark-hundred — true, because I like deserted roads; I get along pretty well with even all the staff — false, because more than a few don’t disguise what seems to be their hate of me; I like working as much as possible — true, because I need the duckets; only infrequently have I the urge to shove timesheets down the collective throats of two or three specific photogs —  very, very false.

It’s only just barely that I put up with that whole responsibility gig that comes with coming of age, because it means I have to accept secondary and tertiary responsibilities, too. If I have to put up with one more of these zarking farkwarks, though, they’ll be the straw that broke the camel’s back — I might just renounce my membership from adulthood.

If only I didn’t need those duckets.


  1. It was only a few years ago, when I was 21 myself and about to graduate from college with a completely useless degree (English writing with a spec. in Poetry???) that i was thinking the same thing. I had an almost unquenchable urge to live in my car…very Into The Wild…alas, I have sucked it up, and now experience the daily revelation that being a grown up sucks. Sucks ass.

    Side note: I have not yet lived in my car, but have made it a goal for sometime after I’m forty. That’s when we’re old and shrivel up, right?

  2. Either that, or parents of teenagers. I’m not sure which is worse.

  3. Katherine

    I did live in my car after college – with my dog, and pet rat. Coincidently, I now work for a homeless shelter. I like to pretend it was research.

  4. Fortunately, I haven’t had to live out of my car. Yet.

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